151st Field Artillery in World War I
After Congress approved President Woodrow Wilson's April 1917 declaration of war against Germany, Secretary of War Newton C. Baker and Major Douglas McArthur devised a plan to combine National Guard units from around the country into one large division. Twenty-six states and Washington D.C. provided units for what became known as the Rainbow Division. Commanded by Colonel George E. Leach, the Minnesota 151st Field Artillery, part of the Rainbow Division, served in France from October 18, 1917, to November 11, 1918. They saw combat in Lorraine, Champagne, Chateau-Thierry, and Meuse-Argonne. On November 11, 1918 (Armistice Day), the 151st was near Sedan.
To Minnesotans, the151st Field Artillery embodied the fight for the "freedom of democracy." The state welcomed them back as heroes in the spring of 1919 with a ceremony on the steps of the state capitol building in St. Paul. Thousands of Minnesotans cheered the men of the 151st, the end of war, and the establishment of peace.
GET STARTED WITH SECONDARY SOURCES:
- Americans All, the Rainbow at War: Official History of the 42nd
Rainbow Division in the World War, by Henry J. Reilly.
Columbus, Ohio: F. J. Heer Print Co., 1936.
MHS call number: D 570.3 42nd .R4 1936.
- Brief History of the Rainbow Division in the World War,
by Stevenson Masson.
Chicago, Ill.: Rainbow Division Veterans, 192?.
MHS call number: D 570.3 42nd .M27 1920z.
- A Brief Story of the Rainbow Division, by Walter B.
New York: Printed by Rand, McNally & Co., 1919.
MHS call number: D 570.3 42nd .W6.
- The Gopher Gunners: A History of Minnesota's 151st Field Artillery,
by Francis J. Vojta.
Minneapolis: Burgess Publishing, 1995.
MHS call number: D 570.32 151st .V65 1995.
See also the "Gopher Gunners: March Song" sheet music under Primary Resources.
- History of the 151st Field Artillery, Rainbow Division,
by Louis L. Collins; edited by Wayne E. Stevens.
Volume 1 in the series "Minnesota in the World War."
St. Paul, Minn.: Minnesota War Records Commission, 1924.
MHS call number: D 570.85 .M6 A5 v.1.
- Muskets to Missiles: A Military History of Minnesota,
by Virginia Brainard Kunz.
Medal of Honor winners are listed on pages 192-194.
St. Paul, Minn.: Minnesota Statehood Centennial Commission, 1958.
MHS call number: Reference Desk UA 270 .A5 1958.
- "The Peavey Fountain," by Joe Justad.
Remarks made by Joe Justad, private in Battery D of the 151st , at the dedication of the Peavey fountain.
In Hennepin County History, vol. 26, no. 1 (summer 1966): pp. 16-19.
MHS call number: Reading Room F 612.H52 H4 v.26:1.
- The Rainbow Division in the Great War, 1917-1919, by
James J. Cooke.
Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1994.
MHS call number: D 570.3 42d .C66 1994.
- The Story of the Rainbow Division, by Raymond S. Tompkins;
introduction by Charles T. Menoher.
New York: Boni and Liveright, 1919.
MHS call number: D 570.3 42nd .T66.
- Loren W. Collins and Family Papers. This archival collection
contains letters (1917-1919) of his sons, Louis, Loren, and Stewart G.,
during their World War I service in Europe, which touch on fighting in
France, French morale and attitudes, logistical problems, and postwar
civilian life in occupied Germany. Also included are biographical data
on Loren and Louis Collins.
MHS call number: A/.C712; see the green Manuscripts Notebooks for a detailed list of materials (there is one box of material).
- Gopher Gunners: March Song,
words and music by J.G. Spernek.
Minneapolis: J.G. Spernek, c1917.
MHS call number: FOLIO M1 .M6 no. 158.
- Edward Karow Scrapbooks.
This archival collection (1917-1925) contains general orders, letters, commissions, memoranda, membership lists, pamphlets, photographs, clippings, manuals, and memorabilia with information in World War I activities of the Minneapolis Civilian Auxiliary (1917-1918), the Minnesota Home Guard (1918), the Minnesota National Guard (especially the Fourth Minnesota Infantry and the First and 151st Field Artillery, 1918-1925), and the U.S. Army (1918) collected by Karow, who served as an officer in all of them.
MHS call number: A/.K18; see the green Manuscripts Notebooks for a detailed list of materials (there are 10 volumes).
- Minnesota War Records Commission.
This archival collection (1917-192-) contains numerous materials pertaining to Minnesota and war. Included are materials relating to research, editing, and production for the history of the 151st Field Artillery.
MHS call number: See the black State Archives Notebooks for a detailed list of boxes and locator numbers (there are 7 boxes, plus 2 partial boxes of material, but not all relate to this topic; look for material pertaining to the 151st Field Artillery in the inventory).
- Rollo Lester Mudge Papers.
This archival collection (1917-1972) contains correspondence, programs, histories, military papers, and similar files compiled and created by Rollo L. Mudge, Minneapolis, and documenting World War I service of Battery D, 151st Field Artillery. The regiment was part of the U.S. Army 42nd Infantry ("Rainbow Division"). Mudge served with the unit from September 1917 until May 1919. This collection includes correspondence between Mudge and a number of political leaders and World War I veterans of the Rainbow Division (1918-1969); and historical sketches and rosters of the 42nd Division and of its Minnesota veterans. Correspondence also includes official military papers created while the division was in military service. A complete chronology of the activities of the battery (prepared by Mudge) from June 26, 1917, to January 7, 1919; three letters written by servicemen to their families; Field Order No. 5 relating to the 42nd Division's separation from service (1919); and a notebook, which may have been kept by Lt. Carl Sager, relating to all aspects of artillery techniques, including sketches and illustrations. The collection includes seven photographs and snapshots.
MHS call number: P1643; see the green Manuscripts Notebooks for a detailed list of items (there is one box of material).
- William K. Fraser Papers.
This archival collection (1917-1919) contains a manuscript diary, correspondence, soldier's pay record book, military manuals, photographs, camp newspapers, and miscellaneous printed matter documenting a Minnesota soldier's experiences during World War I as a telephone officer with the 151st Field Artillery. The diary (Dec. 25, 1917-July 21, 1918) provides a detailed account of Fraser's activities while serving in France, particularly during the German offensive in Lorraine (March-June 1918) and the second battle of the Marne (July 1918).
MHS call number: P1943; see the green Manuscripts Notebooks for a detailed list of items (there is one box of material).
- War Diary, by George E. Leach.
Leach was colonel of the 151st Field Artillery.
Roanoke, Va: National Association Rainbow Division Veterans, 1962.
MHS call number: D 570.32 151st .L3 1962.
- Newspapers that may be useful for this topic:
- Minneapolis Star
- Minneapolis Tribune
- St. Paul Dispatch
- St. Paul Pioneer Press
- Newspapers from veterans' hometowns, for example the Freeborn County Standard in Albert Lea has good articles.
- Useful dates to look for newspaper articles: around November 17, 1918 (Germany surrenders), around May 8, 1919 (151st returns to Minnesota), around May 23, 1919 (presentation of the 151st's colors on the steps of the state capitol).
- Visual Resources Database subjects that may be useful for this topic:
- Check the library catalog for other materials.